The Sheffield Steeldogs came to town to kick off the Phoenix festive run, two home games and a trip to MK covered the period coming off the back of the great win against MK. Steeldog games are no longer easy ones for the Phoenix and this boxing day encounter would prove to be a classic. The biggest crowd of the season gathered to blow the christmas cobwebs out their system and enjoy a hard fought night of hockey in Altrincham.
First Period: With the Ice Dome jumping both teams got at it and it was clear this would be another tough physical battle. The two sides exchanged early chances and Fone/Bowns were found in good form. Sadly for the home crowd the Steeldogs would get the jump on the Phoenix and race to a two goal lead. Ex Telford Tiger Ashley Calvert got the Dogs first goal, then Edgar Bebris doubled their lead on 11min 19sec. the home side pushed hard, buoyed on by the Phoenix faithful only to be denied by the hardworking Steeldogs. The first period ended 2-0 Dogs but shots on goal were even.
Second Period: The first intermission looked to have boosted the Phoenix. The first was dominated by the Dogs on the scoreboard, the second period was all Phoenix. Early on in the period Martin Cingel got the home side on the board, only for Stuart Brittle to restore Sheffield's two goal advantage. The trade of goals happened once more when Slava Koulikov scored for the Phoenix only for Brittle to score his second at the half hour mark to, once again, restore the advantage. The Phoenix pressed hard and the Ice Dome exploded when the Phoenix got on level terms towards the end of the period. Ciaran Long scored a superb effort, and a just reward for his hard work in the game so far. Then Wallace lifted the roof with a superb top shelf wrister from the face off circle at 38min 43sec.
Third Period: No goals came from the last session, but plenty of pressure and talking points did. Ex Phoenix favorite Pavel Gomeniuk was ejected from the game for a late hit on Ciaran Long. This 10min penalty coupled with an earlier misconduct penalty saw him ejected from the game. Plenty of big hits were thrown and chances given, but Fone and Bowns were in no mood to concede the winner. As the period ticked by the Phoenix had a few PP opportunities but could not find the net.
Overtime: The extra session could not separate the sides and the Phoenix had to kill off some penalty trouble towards the end of the 5 minutes. Both sides deserved to take a point from the game, it would now be down to penalties to see who got the win.
Penalty Shots: Never liked penalty shots and never will! Having said that, the Phoenix started brilliantly with Koulikov and Faith, taking the same route up ice, to score. With Sheffield missing their first chance, it was advantage Phoenix. Greg Wood scored for Sheffield and then Wallace missed the game winning penalty shot. So all down to Bebris vs Fone and BT came up big in blanking Bebris...win for the Phoenix!
Verdict: Great game, great win for the Phoenix in front of a big big crowd in the Ice Dome. Sheffield are a team I will not enjoy losing too, for the simple fact in how they go about playing hockey. Gomeniuk's actions in the game were horrible, Greg Wood is turning into a little ****, which is a shame as he played brilliantly for the Phoenix. As said further up, both teams deserved a point from the game, the Phoenix deserved the win!
Attendance: Biggest of the season, so i'll guess at 1,700+
Phoenix 5 Sheffield 4 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 5 Sheffield 4 - CB Sport
Phoenix 5 Sheffield 4 - Steeldogs Article